These are incredibly fun to make and naturally delicious to eat. Top the pretzels with either poppy, fennel or sesame seeds, or other seed of your choice. Serve them warm as a snack with mustard and a cold beer, or simply enjoy any time.
Pretzels are thought to have been created by European monks, though from which country exactly remains a mystery. From the 12th century on, the pretzel became the emblem used by the German Bakers’ Guild.
Cover the dough with a tea towel or plastic wrap. Stand in a warm place until dough has doubled in size. A warm place can be in front of a heater, in a warm sunny spot or on the open door of the oven at 100°C/210°F.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; divide dough into 12 even portions. Roll each portion into a long thin rope, adding a little more flour to the surface to prevent sticking. Form each rope into a U-shape.
To form the pretzel shape, cross the ends of the U-shape rope to form a loop. Twist once in the centre. Fold the ends down, over the loop
Gently dip pretzels in the combined soda and water in a shallow dish. Place the pretzels on oven trays and sprinkle with salt flakes and seeds. You can use your favourites here or leave them plain if you prefer
1.Place milk and sugar in a medium bowl; sprinkle over yeast. Cover; stand in a warm place for 10 minutes or until frothy.
2.Stir in salt, flour and butter to make a soft, sticky dough. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place dough in an oiled large bowl; cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap. Stand in a warm place for 1½ hours or until dough has doubled in size.
3.Preheat oven to 220°C/425°F. Oil four oven trays.
4.Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; divide into 12 even portions. Roll each portion into a 75cm (30in) rope. Form each rope into a U-shape, then cross the ends to form a loop. Twist once in the centre, then fold the ends down over the loop to form the pretzel shape. (See steps opposite.)
5.Dissolve soda in the water in a shallow dish. Gently dip each pretzel in water mixture. Place on oven trays. Sprinkle with salt flakes and seeds.
6.Bake pretzels, in two batches, for 12 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm.